Richmond Teens Employed to Revive Rosie The Riveter Legacy

SCA Press Release
Monday, March 16, 2009

SCA and NPS engage female youth to shoot documentary

Student Conservation Association and National Park Service engage female youth crew to shoot video documentary spotlighting the role of U.S. women during World War II

RICHMOND, CA – March 16, 2009 – The teen unemployment rate is soaring at nearly 22% nationally, and is estimated to be three times as high in the city of Richmond, California, where adults are taking over many of the retail positions that teenagers have traditionally held.  The Student Conservation Association (SCA), in partnership with the National Park Service, is providing four Richmond teens with the opportunity to capture an important part of the city’s labor and wartime history on film—and get paid for it.

All young women ages 15 to 19 from predominantly low-income families, these four teens are taking a big step forward by reaching back  – roughly seventy years back to a time when our country was at war and women were just beginning to enter the workforce. As part of an innovative new program co-sponsored by SCA, the City of Richmond’s YouthWorks, and Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, the members of the “Richmond Home Front Youth Corps” are learning about and documenting a pivotal moment in history that paved the way to equal rights and work opportunities for all women. Working in collaboration with National Park Service rangers, the Richmond Youth Media Project and the Richmond Museum of History, this all-girls SCA crew is getting behind the camera to create a short film about the history of Richmond’s World War II Home Front efforts and the legacy of the “Rosies,” women who broke the gender barrier in shipyard and manufacturing positions previously held only by men.

“This project encourages local youth and their families to value and steward local historical treasures,” said NPS Outreach Coordinator Carla Koop. “Through video documentation and public and school outreach, this seven-month program is instilling pride and raising the community’s awareness of the “Rosies’ ” legacy,  the role of the historic Richmond shipyards, and the presence of the new national park in the teens’ own backyards.”

In addition to gaining historical knowledge, the crew members—who are paid above minimum wage for their participation—are also being trained in the technical aspects of film production, historical research, and in conducting oral interviews with local residents who were part of the Home Front efforts. The Richmond Home Front Youth Corps program is empowering a new generation of “Rosies” who will be equipped to gain entry into a workforce that now requires more technical know-how.

“I hope to gain new skills and an experience I’ll never forget,” said crew member and Kennedy High student Sara Moran. “I think it’s important to share the stories of struggle that families and women faced during the war.”
The members of the Home Front Youth Corps will debut their short film at the Richmond Museum of History on Saturday April 18th, during a public celebration and accompanying photo exhibit of their work beginning at 5pm. For more information or to RSVP, please contact SCA at 510-832-1966 x306. Those attending the March 21 Gala Dinner put on by the Rosie the Riveter Trust will get a sneak preview of the film and enjoy a special event in the Machine Shop, a historic building in Shipyard No. 3 that is not usually open to the public.

The National Park Service and SCA are in the process of developing more opportunities for youth to get involved in meaningful work through a new project this summer that will focus on engaging local teens in a historic gardening project in north Richmond. Eligible youth, ages 15-19 who are residents of Richmond, must be enrolled in the City of Richmond’s Summer Youth Employment Program to apply. SCA is also accepting applications from young adults over the age of 21 for crew leader positions with SCA this summer. More information is available at www.thesca.org/employment.

About the Student Conservation Association

SCA is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school students who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, refuges, seashores and communities. For more than 50 years, SCA’s active, hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. SCA is a non-profit headquartered in Charlestown, New Hampshire with regional offices in Washington D.C., Oakland, Pittsburgh and Seattle.